Israel’s official Holocaust memorial centre has invited Sean Spicer to visit its website and learn about the history of the crimes against Jewish people committed during the Second World War.
The White House Press Secretary sparked immediate outrage and was forced to apologise for claiming during a press conference about Syria that even Adolf Hitler did not “sink” to using chemical weapons.
The Yad Vashem centre said it had “deep concerns regarding the inaccurate and insensitive use of terms related to the Holocaust by the White House Press Secretary”.
During the press conference, Mr Spicer was asked why he thought Russia would drop its longstanding alliance with Bashar al-Assad’s government over last week’s chemical attack.
He said: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two, you know, you had a, someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to the, to using chemical weapons.
“So you have to, if you’re Russia, ask yourself is this a country that, and a regime, that you want to align yourself with.”
Reacting to Mr Spicer’s comment, the Yad Vashem centre said: “His statements imply a profound lack of knowledge of events of the Second World War, including the Holocaust. Moreover, they are liable to strengthen the hands of those whose goal is to distort history.
“In light of recent statements….. Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, encourages him to visit the Yad Vashem website to learn about the Holocaust and its period in history.”
On its website, the Jerusalem-based centre has a range of online courses, resources and seminars to learn and reflect on the Holocaust.
Mr Spicer, who is now fighting calls for his dismissal, has come under fire for his comments during the Jewish holiday of Passover.
The Anne Frank Centre for Mutual Respect’s executive director, Steven Goldstein, said Mr Spicer had engaged in “Holocaust denial” and that she should be dismissed “at once”.
The Press Secretary has gone to great lengths to explain himself.
Immediately after making the remarks, he said: “I think when you come to sarin there was no, he was not using gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. I mean, there’s clearly … He brought them into the Holocaust centres, I understand that.
“But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent—into the middle of towns, it was. The use of it—I appreciate the clarification, that was not the intent.”
Apologising on CNN, he said he was “trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad has made against his people”. He recognised he had made “a mistake” and that his comment was “an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust”.